A Denali Backpacking Guide
Denali’s Trail-less Wilderness
"Without self-discovery, a person may still have self-confidence, but it is a self-confidence built on ignorance and it melts in the face of heavy burdens. Self-discovery is the end product of a great challenge mastered, when the mind commands the body to do the seemingly impossible, when strength and courage are summoned to extraordinary limits for the safe of something outside the self - a principle, an onerous task, another human life."
Backcountry Unit System
The unit-by-unit descriptions (below) in this backpacking guide will help you prepare in advance and in person for your Denali backpacking adventure.
The six million acres of Denali are divided into 87 separate backcountry units. Forty-one units have a limit on the number of individuals that can camp in each unit per night. During peak summer visitation, many of these units are heavily used, so please come to the Backcountry Desk with several alternative trip itineraries. Don't become discouraged if your first choice is not available. Remember, there are six million acres to choose from, and all units offer excellent wilderness trips.
Note the following requirements when planning a trek through Denali's backcountry:
Planning your Denali backpacking adventure
Click on any unit number in the map below to read a thorough description of that unit. Some of the very remote units are grouped together; and the heart of the Alaska Range (Units 45-48, 86 and 87) link to our mountaineering webpages.
Text links to each unit's specific web page are also provided below the map.
Did You Know?
Nearly 500 vegetation plots have been installed in Denali, to monitor climate change. Warmer temperatures allow woody plants to grow at higher elevations, invading the fragile and unique plants already in high alpine tundra - and threatening the animals that depend on those specialized plants.